10 Of The Hardest Soulsborne Bosses

10 Of The Hardest Soulsborne Bosses

In 2009 Japanese developers From Software released Demon Souls and started their own game genre that has become arguably the most important innovation in game design of the last ten years. That genre became known by gamers’ as Soulsborne.

From the intricate level design to From Soft’s incredible environmental storytelling the genre has attracted new audiences with each passing year. One of the main draws to any Soulsborne game is its punishing difficulty and absolutely brutal boss battles. Today we are going to look at some of the toughest bosses from the series.

In no particular order:

Manus, Father of the Abyss (Dark Souls)

Manus, Father of the Abyss is a final boss of the AotA expansion. While something of a demon in appearance when encountered by the player, Manus was in fact once human. He became the Father of the Abyss when his humanity went wild, but it is not known what caused this. According to both Marvelous Chester and Hawkeye Gough, an unidentified Primordial Serpent (whether it was Kaathe or Frampt is uncertain) urged the citizens of Oolacile to go delving in the dark of the Abyss, where they awoke this primordial man. Upon awakening, he became enraged and set to expand his domain while seeking out his precious Broken Pendant. The Abyss consumed the citizens of Oolacile, whose humanity went wild in turn, mutating them into ghastly creatures. With inhabitants maddened, Oolacile was left to fall to ruin. Nothing remains in present day to mark the passing of Oolacile, save Dusk.

When the player finds half of his pendant, Manus reaches out through time and space to reacquire it, taking the player to Oolacile in the process. He also takes Marvelous Chester in the same manner, who may have found the other half of the pendant in another time. While this pendant obviously held some deep meaning to Manus, it is unknown what, the answer long since lost to time.


Rom, the Vacuous Spider (Bloodborne)

Rom, the Vacuous Spider controls the barrier that prevents normal Yharnamites from seeing the true horrors around them, such as the Lesser Amygdalas crawling around the Cathedral Ward. Rom was once a scholar of Byrgenwerth whom at some point went through metamorphosis into a Great One courtesy of Kos, according to dialogue given by Micolash.

“The Byrgenwerth spider hides all manner of rituals and keeps our lost master from us. A terrible shame. It makes my head shudder uncontrollably.” – Note from library area just beyond the Tomb of Oedon.

“The spider hides all manner of rituals, certain to reveal nothing, for true enlightenment need not be shared.”  – Note from the second floor of Byrgenwerth.

“Ahh, Kos or some say Kosm… Do you hear our prayers? As you once did for the vacuous Rom, grant us eyes, grant us eyes.” – Micolash, Host of the Nightmare.


Demon Of Hatred (Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice)

The Demon of Hatred is a vessel for the flames and hatred of a man who failed to become Shura, stuck fighting an endless war against something. The one-armed demon prowls the battlefield, consumed by flames of deepest resentment. The man was bound stubbornly to this world, and it wasn’t until he became a demon that he was able to depart for the next.

After Wolf has defeated the demon, a familiar voice thanks him for putting an end to his rampage. The man who became the demon was the Sculptor of the Desolate Temple transformed, or it was at least the incarnation of his aspect and immortality. He is considered as one of the hardest bosses in the game

In order to access this closed off battlefield, Wolf must travel to the Ashina Outskirts from the Ashina Castle, following the direction of a wounded Nightjar during the Central Force’s invasion. Upon commuting with a Sculptor’s Idol, he will be sent to the Flames of Hatred Idol.


Slave Knight Gael (Dark Souls 3)

Believed to reside in the painting, he acted as some parental figure to The Painter, who calls him her uncle. It is believed that he departed the painting after she was locked away, taking the rotted remains of the physical portal with him, attempting to find another Ashen One to complete the prophecy that would burn away the rotted world so that the Painter could replace it.

Unable to find one, he travels to the Cathedral of the Deep, praying for divine aid in his mission. When he encounters the Champion, he is overjoyed to have completed his search, and requests the Ashen One to free The Painter and show her the flame that would burn the rot. Once they come into contact with the piece of the painting, the Ashen One is pulled into the painted world.

In the fight with Ariandel and Friede, the flame is reignited, and The Painter comments that she will wait until she can see it before beginning the painting. To do that, she needs the pigment she intends to use, which she reveals to be the Dark Soul itself, discovered by the Furtive Pygmy and used to create all of humankind. She also mentions that Gael intended to get it for her, for he has set out on a new mission to find it, and she wonders whether or not he has found it already.

Gael’s mission to find the Dark Soul leads him to the Ringed City where he finally meets the Pygmy Lords whose blood would apparently serve as a suitable pigment. However to his shock, their blood has dried out over the ages and is therefore useless to him. Driven mad by this revelation and determined to complete his mission, Gael slaughters the Pygmies, cutting their throats and drinking their dried blood, in a desperate attempt to take the Dark Soul for himself. But even he realized that the Dark Soul was too powerful for him to handle, and it mutated his body, causing him to grow in size and warp his mind.

When the Ashen One finally reunites with Gael, he has been fully corrupted by the Dark Soul and demands their portion of it, attacking them in a rage when they refuse. He is finally struck down, allowing the Ashen One to obtain his blood to use as a pigment.


Ornstein and Smough (Dark Souls)

Ornstein is the captain of the Four Knights of Gwyn Lord of Cinder, serving alongside Artorias the AbysswalkerLord’s Blade Ciaran, and Hawkeye Gough. As his name would suggest, he was an honorary dragon slayer.

He wields his Dragonslayer Spear, a sword-spear after the fashion of Gwyn’s Firstborn‘s own weapon. He also commands the power of lightning. It is believed that he was left behind with Smough to guard Anor Londo‘s cathedral after the gods fled.

However, there is reason to believe that Ornstein’s presence in Anor Londo is an illusion, much as Gwynevere and the light of Anor Londo is a mere facade maintained by Gwyndolin. This is evidenced by his presence in Drangleic, at Heide’s Tower of Flame, where we can speculate he might have fled with Gwynevere. There is also the matter of his armour being present in Archdragon Peak, suggesting he followed Gwyn’s Firstborn after his betrayal, with some suggesting he even shed his armour and body to become a dragon – not least as the Nameless King echoes the Ornstein and Smough boss fight in absorbing the lightning of his stormdrake, The King of Storm.

The executioner for the royal family of Anor Londo, Smough dreamed of being anointed a knight of Gwyn. However, such was his relish for his work that he soon began to eat the bones of those he had executed. Regarded as distasteful by his masters, the royal family never raised him to the rank of knight. Though, after the gods fled Anor Londo, he remains in defence of Gwynevere’s illusion. Whether he does so out of loyalty to Gwyndolin or he, too, has been fooled by the illusion of sunlight is not clear. 


The Nameless King (Dark Souls 3)

The Nameless King was a dragon-slaying god of war in the Age of the Gods and heir to lightning, until he sacrificed everything to ally with the ancient dragons. He tamed a Stormdrake and formed a close bond with it, leading it to countless battles. He is a former king. However, it is not known which kingdom he was the king of.

Dragonslayer Ornstein, another relic of the Age of Gods, left the ruined cathedral Anor Londo he once guarded in search of the Nameless King.

It is heavily implied that the Nameless King is the long-speculated firstborn child of Gwyn, Lord of Sunlight.


Gyobou Oniwa (Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice)

Gyoubu was taken in as an Ashina warrior after his group of infamous bandits were defeated by Isshin. He eventually became Genichiro’s most trusted retainer.

The spear he uses against Sekiro was previously owned by the samurai Shuzen Tamura, who Isshin defeats in battle during the game’s opening cutscene. Isshin gifted the spear to Gyoubu after his horn-spear broke during the rebellion.

It’s possible he is one of the Seven Ashina Spears, as he is a high-ranking warrior and uses a unique spear in battle.

“Oniwa” is likely a title rather than a family name, as “Oni” roughly translates to “demon” in japanese, and Gyoubu is referred to in the english dub as “Gyoubu the demon” in an eavesdrop conversation.

Likewise, “Gyoubu” was a historical Japanese court title given to members of the Ministry of Justice, and likely not this character’s actual name. The title was most famously held by the historical “Gyoubu” Otani Yoshitsugu (大谷 吉継), a 16th century samurai and ally of Ishida Mitsunari (石田 三成).


Sister Friede and Father Ariandel (Dark Souls 3)

Friede is the eldest of the three sisters who founded the Sable Church of Londor, the others being Yuria and Liliane. Sister Friede is an Unkindled, suggesting that she attempted to link the First Flame or usurp it but failed, resulting in her being resurrected as ash.

Having abandoned the Sable Church, she happened upon Ariandel’s Painted World. There, she tricked Father Ariandel by convincing him that the only way to preserve the Painted World was by suppressing the fire with his own blood to prevent it from being burned to the ground, and resulting in the rot that afflicts it.

Despite giving ample warning, Sister Friede is ultimately forced to wield her scythe and confront the meddling Ashen One, not before asking Father Ariandel to turn his gaze away from the imminent carnage. When she collapses the first time, an enraged Ariandel sparks the flame he bled so much to prevent in a desperate attempt to revive her. Now rekindled, she comes back from death to fight by his side. After falling a second time, Friede rises yet again and tinges her flame black with the Dark in one final struggle to defeat the second ash and prevent the painted world from being eventually replaced with a new one.


Orphan of Kos (Bloodborne)

Mentioned as the “poor wizened child” of the being Kos, it can be theorized that the desecration of Kos by the hunters lead to the death of this infant Great One, causing it to fade into a plane similar to limbo. In retaliation for that saddening fate, the devoted mother Kos laid the curse of blood upon the old hunters responsible for their earthly deaths, and upon those who followed in their blood-lusting footsteps. Drunk with blood, the later hunters would join the old hunters in the limbo of the Orphan of Kos, referred to as the Hunter’s Nightmare.

Once it has died, the spirit will linger with the corpse of the mother until slain, which pleases Kos to the point of her lifting the hunters’ blood curse of the Nightmare. Why she does this is uncertain, but a voice declares with relief that the child has returned to the ocean, implying either the child has returned to life on earth or that killing it within limbo now frees it to traverse the cosmos unhindered by the limbo inflicted on it.


Darkeater Midir (Dark Souls 3)

A descendant of the Archdragons and raised by the Gods themselves, Midir was tasked with fighting against the Abyss and its creations. His immortality enables him to perform his duties without end, even after the Gods have long since perished. But his task has rendered him damaged beyond repair, as the Dark has seeped into him and infected him (his title implies that he actually consumed potent sources of Dark), and forms black crystals. It is not exactly clear whether or not he has been fully consumed, but he clearly feels the effects, able to use the Dark in combat.

Within the memories of Midir is an old remembrance of a sword, similar to that of Seath’s moonlight power, but the memory was “from not long after the Beginning.” This implies not only that Midir predates the Lords’ war against the Dragons, but that he remembers a power that predates the First Flame, and even one of his fellow dragons.


We hope you enjoyed our list and if there’s any you think we’ve missed, then let us know in the comments and be sure to check out our 10 Hidden Gems On The PlayStation 4  list and for all things gaming stay tuned to ABG!

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